Friday, January 7, 2011


The sacred sense of beyond, of timelessness, of a world which had an eternal value and the substance of which was divine!!!!!!!

For the first time I understood Goethe's laughter, the laughter of the immortals. It was a laughter without an object. It was simply light and lucidity. It was that which is left over when a true man has passed through all the sufferings, vices, mistakes, passions and misunderstandings of men and got through to eternity and the world of space And eternity was nothing else than the redemption of time, its return to innocence, so to speak, and its transformation again into space.

The immortals, living their life in timeless space, enraptured, re-fashioned and immersed in a crystalline eternity like ether, and the cool starry brightness and radiant serenity of this world outside the earth--whence was all this so intimately known? As I reflected, passages of Mozart's Cassations, of Bach's Well-tempered Clavier came to my mind and it seemed to me that all through this music there was the radiance of this cool starry brightness and the quivering of this clearness of ether. Yes, it was there. In this music there was a feeling as of time frozen into space, and above it there quivered a never-ending and superhuman serenity, an eternal, divine laughter. Yes, and how well the aged Goethe of my dreams fitted in too! And suddenly I heard this fathomless laughter around me. I heard the immortals laughing. I sat entranced. Entranced, I felt for a pencil in my waistcoat pocket, and looking for paper saw the wine card lying on the table. I turned it over and wrote on the back.

The Immortals

Ever reeking from the vales of earth

Ascends to us life's fevered surge,

Wealth's excess, the rage of dearth,

Smoke of death meals on the gallow's verge;

Greed without end, imprisoned air;

Murderers' hands, usurers' hands, hands of prayer;

Exhales in foetid breath the human swarm

Whipped on by fear and lust, blood raw, blood warm,

Breathing blessedness and savage heats,

Eating itself and spewing what it eats,

Hatching war and lovely art,

Decking out with idiot craze

Bawdy houses while they blaze,

Through the childish fair-time mart

Weltering to its own decay

In the glare of pleasure's way,

Rising for each newborn and then

Sinking for each to dust again.

But we above you ever more residing

In the ether's star translumined ice

Know not day nor night nor time's dividing,

Wear nor age nor sex for our device.

All your sins and anguish self-affrighting,

Your murders and lascivious delighting

Are to us but as a show

Like the suns that circling go,

Changing not our day for night;

On your frenzied life we spy,

And refresh ourselves thereafter

With the stars in order fleeing;

Our breath is winter; in our sight

Fawns the dragon of the sky;

Cool and unchanging is our eternal being,

Cool and star bright is our eternal laughter.

1 comment:

  1. Hesse is right, every work of art is an attempt to catch the time and space. Is the cry of a human being to tell future generations that existed, an attempt to defeat death